A new gigafactory in the French “battery valley”
Being one of the first of its kind in the Hauts de France region, the AESC gigafactory project will contribute to accelerate France’s energy transition and decarbonization efforts as well as reindustrialization, by scaling up the battery technology production needed for the accelerating pace of vehicle electrification.
The new "battery valley " in the Hauts de France region spans across Dunkirk, Douai and Douvrin, known as the three "D" cities. The region has become the leading automotive region in France, after the closure of its mines and most of the steel industry. Many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have chosen to set up their factories there. The region aspires to make its mark on the European electric vehicle market and become home to all of France's gigafactory projects for the automotive industry.
With the growing popularity of the area, AESC, a global leader in the development and manufacturing of high-performance batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems has chosen Douai to set up its first gigafactory.
The concept of a gigafactory applies to a factory that produces equipment, batteries or other systems for electric vehicles in gigantic volumes. This type of factory makes it possible to save money on a very large scale.
The AESC gigafactory will have a production capacity of 9 GWh in 2024, rising to 24 GWh by 2030 at the latest, for the production of state-of-the-art, low-carbon batteries. Production is expected to start in spring/summer 2024 and will create around 1,200 direct jobs to start and potentially 3,000 by 2030 depending on orders.
The production will initially be used to supply the Renault plant with batteries for its future electric vehicles, such as the new-generation R5 Renault’s ECHO and 4Ever (new 4L) models. In future phases, the gigafactory will also be able to supply other automotive and industrial manufacturers with electric batteries.
For AESC, this investment will enable the group to consolidate its industrial position in Europe and to penetrate the French electric vehicle market, with significant potential in terms of production volume.
Societe Generale has played a lead role in this financing, acting as Sole Debt Financial Advisor, MLA and Hedge Coordinator. The financing is supported by Banque des Territoires, the European Investment Bank, Bpifrance, Sinosure, BBVA, BNP, Natixis, Societe Generale, Santander and HSBC.
The project is in line with the accelerating pace of vehicle electrification internationally, supported by Societe Generale's Mining, Metals & Industries experts, who are working to advise and arrange solutions across the entire battery value chain. The financing also highlights Societe Generale’s capabilities in mobilizing Export Credit Agencies liquidity for energy transition projects.
We’re excited to finalize the financing of this project, marking a key milestone for AESC in our drive towards a clean energy future. The wide-ranging financial support, including that of Societe Generale, underscores our collective commitment to decarbonization and AESC’s pivotal role in transforming the battery industry. We are grateful to our partners in France, who have made this project possible and look forward to powering a greener, more sustainable future.
We are very pleased to have advised AESC on the financing of this landmark transaction in France and to have reached a very successful outcome, gathering a diverse group of financiers and demonstrating the strategic nature of the project. The transaction is a testimony of Societe Generale commitment and lead position in the advisory and financing of the battery manufacturing sector and of our strategy to support industrial projects enabling energy transition. We are extremely proud to be supporting the AESC’s growth and ambitions and I want to thank AESC for their trust.